Lying in the delivery room moments after giving birth, Amanda was told by the doctor that her son Reed was a happy, healthy baby. Waiting with husband Ryan, and excited for daughter Shaelyn to meet her new brother, Amanda was not expecting the doctor to return to the room moments later to announce Reed was being flown to Children's Hospital in London, ON.
Living in Thunder Bay, the family didn't even think twice about where they would stay—they just new they had to go with Reed.
When the Pepe family made the 1370 km trip to London, they learned that their son suffered from an Imperforate Anus and would need immediate surgery. Just two days after being born on December 18th, 2012, Reed underwent major surgery and received a colostomy bag. Over 400 internal stiches later, the family thought their son had made it through and were ready to get back to "normal" every-day life. However, the doctors discovered Reed also had a Duplex Kidney and several other medical issues which led to his diagnosis of a rare medical issue called Townes-Brocks Syndrome.
Due to Reed's serious condition, the Pepe family have found themselves at the House on a regular basis for the past year while Reed has undergone 7 major surgeries. Staying sometimes for a few days and others for a few weeks, in total the family has stayed at the House for close to 8 months and will continue to need this "home away from home" while Reed receives the medical care he needs.
Reed's older sister Shaelyn is his best friend, and when she is able to come from Thunder Bay to stay at the House Reed is ecstatic. Mom will say "Reed, where's Shae Shae?" and his eyes light up as he looks around the room. A big flirt, Reed has a few girlfriends around the House, and now that he is learning to walk the play rooms are a great place for him to just be a kid! Amanda enjoys talking with the volunteers— or as she likes to call them guardian angels— and has made so many friends with the other families staying at the House. Ryan explains
When you come here you don't feel like you are walking into a strange place, the volunteers, families and the House itself are warm and welcoming, a place where we can relax with Reed away from the hospital.
The Pepe family has truly become part of the RMH family, and all the staff and volunteers get excited when they see Reed is coming to stay at the House.
Making a trip to London every 1-3 months for check-ups and surgeries, Reed's family is able to stay close by every step of the way with the help of Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario. Reed will never have to face a medical challenge alone, because his family, and his extended RMH family, will be there with him!
Our three programs, RMH London, RMH Windsor and the RM Family Room London were able to provide supportive services to 4,517 families with sick kids.
RMHC-SWO provided 15,990 nights of comfort to families keeping them close to their child’s specialized medical care.
Each night a family stays close at RMH it is estimated they save $183 on accommodations, meals and other home comforts.
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